Financial survival

Make sure you control your money, so it doesn’t control you. Explore our financial resources for tips on managing your money.

The reality for many students is that there is never much money left over to have fun—often there’s barely enough to pay the bills.

The Student Loan Living Costs or Student Allowance will not cover all your weekly expenses, so it’s important to have a plan for how you will cover the shortfall. This could be through savings from a summer job, help from family, part-time work, or by reducing your expenses.

You can talk to a student finance adviser to work out a budget and discuss the options you have for keeping on top of your finances.

Financial resources

Download the Managing Your Money (PDF) financial survival guide—or the Money Matters (PDF) financial survival guide for international students—to find worksheets and resources to help you manage your money.

Register for Blackbullion—an online financial learning platform—to access a range of money modules that will help you get on track with your budget, savings, and university finances.

Budgeting tips

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to budgeting. It is best to budget to pay rent and bills first and control your extra spending. Find budget worksheets in the Managing Your Money guide (PDF), and experiment with Blackbullion's online budget calculator.

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Calculate your weekly income from all sources, and compare it to your expenses—things like rent, power, phone, and internet.
  • Decide how much you can afford to spend on extras, like drinks and going out. Withdraw this amount in cash to stick to it for the week.
  • Pay bills when they are due and make sure the flat’s accounts aren’t falling behind.

Customise your bank account

Many banks have special packages for students. You can divide your money into online-only savings accounts, so you know you have money set aside for rent, bills, and other expenses.

If you’re flatting, open a flat account to save money and avoid unnecessary stress. Read the Managing Your Money guide (PDF) for tips on how to do this. The Accommodation Service provides more advice on flatting and tenancy concerns.

Community Services Card

Most students are eligible for the Community Services Card, which reduces costs of healthcare and services. Eligibility is judged on personal annual income. See the Work and Income website for details and how to apply, or ask for an application form from a Student Finance adviser or Student Health.

Halls of residence payment schedules

Financial assistance from StudyLink is not enough to cover accommodation fees for a hall of residence. You can use the halls of residence payment schedules to help calculate your shortfall.

Part-time work

The Managing Your Money guide (PDF) has advice and details about working while studying, including an explanation of IRD rules, codes, and exemptions. If you’re thinking of taking on a part-time job while you study, it’s important to read these carefully, so you don’t run into problems.

We recommend signing up for IRD online services, where you can easily apply for exemptions and special rates, see your up-to-date student loan balance, and apply for tax refunds.

Regulations for international students

International students may be eligible to work up to 20 hours per week if they are:

  • enrolled in a full-time course lasting at least two academic years
  • studying towards a New Zealand qualification that would gain points under New Zealand residence policy
  • studying a full-time course to develop English language skills. To qualify, you must have an IELTS (General or Academic Module) overall band score of at least 5.0.

Contact Immigration New Zealand for more information.

You must not undertake employment in New Zealand until you have permission from Immigration New Zealand.

Hardship Fund

The Hardship Fund is an emergency fund that helps students facing financial difficulties. Find out what the criteria are and how to apply.

Help from VUWSA

The Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association provides welfare services to help students in need, including a food bank and free bread.

Help from StudyLink

In addition to the Student Loan and Allowance, StudyLink can give you help with other costs while you’re a student.